Avoid a traffic ticket by ignoring the police and pulling into your garage?

A coworker of mine says that if a police officer is trying to pull you over, and you are in your own neighborhood, that you can simply drive into your garage and go into your house to avoid the ticket. His reasoning is that the police officer would need a search warrant to enter your house, so they will not be able to come after you. He also says that they won’t simply mail the ticket to you because it won’t be valid if you haven’t signed it. Supposedly doing this will allow you to avoid speeding tickets, DUIs, and other traffic offenses.

He went on to say that he had used this technique at least once when the police were trying to pull him over. He just ignored the police car with flashing lights and sirens, pulled into his garage, and shut the door.

Seems very dubious to me, as I can’t see the police giving up so easily after you have just ignored thier efforts to pull you over. However, I really don’t know how far the police will go once you enter your home.

So, what would happen in a situation like this?

If it matters, the coworker lives in Missouri.

Police don’t need a search warrant to enter your house when they’re in “hot pursuit” of a suspect.

I’m no cop, but I would say they cop would likely determine the suspect was evading arrest and the cop would go into “hot pursuit” mode, warrant be damned.

ETA: I need to type faster :slight_smile:

I can’t imagine the circumstances I’d be operating under where ignoring a cop car is a good idea. Bleeding to death? They have first aid kits and radios. Fleeing a crime? Yeah, that’s gonna help. Late for a raid? I think I’d rather miss the first couple bosses.

This sounds like the same level of reasoning that says you don’t actually have to pay income taxes.

Don’t rely on the halffast advice of DIY lawyers!

You might be subjected to additional charges.
So stop your car and face the music!

This is interesting. I’m curious as to whether this is a policy due to law or whether the cop was following local or state guidelines or whether he personally didn’t want to hassle with the added effort (and possible personal risk) of entering forcefully.

Even though I live in MO I’ll probably stop and take the ticket next time.

Maybe other dopers have actually tried this.

I assume that your friend just ignored the knock on the door. Or did the cop not make an effort to knock?

Failing to stop when an officer is pulling you over is a separate and more serious offense. As others have said, garage or no, they’ll probably come after you, and might wind up arrested instead of ticketed. [cites to follow]

You don’t need to sign a ticket for it to be valid in most jurisdictions, anyway. The logical implication if you could is that you could just refuse to sign, and thus avoid getting a citation.

Any chance that your buddy was mistaken and the lights-and-sirens police car was actually not going for him, but for someone else nearby?

Other than that, I can see a non-zero chance that a cop may say “screw it” and let a perp go for something super-minor (failing to signal a turn, rolling stop on a deserted side street, etc.). But for major speeding, reckless driving, DUI, etc? Highly doubtful. I guess anyone can get lucky once … but I certainly wouldn’t rely on that as a repeatable technique.

It sounds like your coworker will be escalating a speeding ticket into multiple offenses.

I’m thinking a 100 dollar ticket would be much cheaper than any other realistic possibility for evading.

Oh, and that thing about signing a ticket is not true. Case in point - a red light traffic camera ticket. The only thing you need to sign is the check to pay the fine.

In Michigan, fleeing and eluding a police officer is a felony:


Apparently it’s a misdemeanor in MO:

Signal or direction of sheriff or deputy sheriff, duty to stop, motor vehicle operators and riders of animals–violation, penalty.



Plenty of time to issue the ticket once you are chin down on the garage floor.

In some jurisdictions, drivers are “asked” to sign traffic tickets. Of course, they are free to refuse. And the officer is free to arrest them instead. :smiley:


http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/police/downloads/police_pdf8501.pdf (Emphasis added.)

I suspect that this would turn into a good SWAT team training exercise.

This was a common urban legend I heard growing up, and that’s exactly what it is: urban legend. Somebody tried this here several years ago, they were close to their home so they made a break for it. As they pulled into their garage, the trooper pulled in behind them to block the door and drew down on him. The potential ticket avoider was flabbergasted, as he thought if you made it home they had to leave you alone and you got out of the ticket. No, what you get is a ticket and arrested on a charge of felony evasion in a motor vehicle.

All those reality shows that show chase scenes. You know how at some point the perp’s car always runs out of gas/gets a flat tire/runs into a wall or something. Then the perp jumps out and runs through back yards, parking lots, etc. until he trips or the cop overtakes him.

Have you ever seen the cops break off the chase because the perp has run on to private property and, oh well, that might be his own home so we can’t go there?

I’ve located an unpublished decision from Texas that indicates that you won’t get away with it. The facts from the decision:

Note that the original behavior that prompted the officer to follow him was not a criminal offense, but merely suspicious behavior. The defendant then did commit an articulable offense under the law, driving at night with his lights off. The officer testified that the defendant would have seen the officer’s emergency lights and heard his siren when the chase then ensued. The jury decided that that was sufficient to support a charge of evading arrest/detention with a motor vehicle, a state jail felony (sentence range from 6 months to two years in state jail). He was convicted, and the sentence was upheld on appeal.

But, there’s one other thing I’m still wondering about: there are two non-arrestable motor vehicle offenses in Texas, those being speeding and open container (see Texas Transportation Code section 543.004). That means that, for those offenses, the officer can issue a citation but can’t arrest you. So, if all he has is a speeding charge, for which arrest is not permitted, and he can’t say for sure if you saw his lights or not, I’m not sure if the “hot pursuit” doctrine would apply and allow him to enter your house or not. If the chase takes long enough for you to see his takedown lights, you’re toast; from that point on, it’s evading, and hot pursuit would apply. But I’m not certain how it would work in a situation where the officer is not permitted by law to effect an arrest. My gut says that the officer cannot enter in that situation, but again, I’m not sure.

That’s easy enough to fix: “I also observed that the driver was not wearing his seat belt.” :smiley:

In reading the Missouri law that is found here:


it seems that the resisting and evading is only a misdemeanor.

Will a police officer still pursue someone into their home if the traffic offense was no more than a misdemeanor, and evading and resisting was only a misdemeanor as well?

your coworker is a damn liar